SHOWERING WHEN YOU HAVE NO RUNNING WATER article

Solar showers for disasters, power outages, storms
  • Item #: Solar-Shower-Info


SHOWERING WHEN YOU HAVE NO RUNNING WATER
PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS AN ARTICLE ON SHOWERING, THIS IS NOT AN ACTUAL SHOWER.

There are some cool products out there that take fuel and fire to make hot water and a shower but here I am going to offer a super low tech, simple solution. I used this method for several years here before getting indoor plumbing.

First I got a 5 gallon Solar Shower. When full, it weighed over 40 lbs so it was hard to lift high up enough to get the nozzle above my head, so this is what I did.

I went to the hardware store and bought a good thick hook with a threaded end (kind of like the ones you'd screw into the ceiling to hang a plant, but more heavy duty), a pulley that was big enough that it would fit on the hook, a cleat (that's the metal thing that they tie the rope around in a figure 8 shape – they use them on boats a lot – no knot needed) and some clothes line sized rope.

I put 2 nails in the front of the house so I could hang the solar shower where it would get sun all day. I screwed the hook into one of the rafters, hung the pulley off that, then threaded the rope through the pulley and passed it through the handle of the solar shower and made a knot. Once the water was hot, I could pull the rope and lift the 5 gallon solar shower all the way up to the eaves and tie it off on the cleat. HA! Now it was high enough to comfortably take a shower. 5 gallons of water in a solar shower is plenty of water to shower, wash your hair, even put conditioner in your hair and rinse it out. Life was good.

Then summer was over: good bye blue skies, good bye hot solar shower.

Never one to be stopped by such a trivial thing, I filled my solar shower part full of cold water then boiled some water in my tea kettle. The thing is, you have to hold the opening open with your fingers in order to pour the water in. And when your pouring hand wavers and you pour boiling water on your fingers IT HURTS. Well, I might have done it that way twice, but then I was on a mission for A Better Way.

What works like a charm is a plastic funnel that you get from the auto parts store. A regular kitchen funnel is no good at all – it is wide and very shallow with a short little bit under the bowl of the funnel. At the auto parts store I found a tall narrow funnel that was perfect. It is 18" tall, the bowl part is 5-6" across at the top and the part below the bowl is a good 9" long (about $4 or $5 at our local auto parts store). This let me fill the shower bag half full of cold water, insert the tall funnel so the bottom of it is actually IN the cold water, then safely pour boiling water into the funnel with no splashing at all because of the steep sides.

THE EVOLUTION

Since not everyone has enough privacy (or lunacy) to shower outdoors, it became obvious what to do (or rather, where to do it). You already have a bathroom (well, most of you), and a tub or shower. All you have to do is locate a ceiling joist above your tub/shower and screw in the big hook there (you will almost certainly need a pilot hole). Then install the cleat next to the shower/tub.

Then if the power goes out and you have no hot water (or water except your stored water), you just have to thread the rope through the pulley and put that up there, fill the shower bag half full of cold water, insert tall funnel, add boiling water and hike that shower up to the ceiling. Tie the rope off on your cleat with figure 8 loop-d-loo's and you are ready for a hot shower in your very own bathroom.

And if it is summer or warm where you live, you can just lay or hang the solar shower out in the sun for a few hours then bring it back in to the bathroom.

Just a note: Since water weighs just a tad over 8 pounds a gallon, a 5 gallon solar shower will weigh 40 pounds. Some people find the 4 gallon solar shower easier to handle at only 32 pounds when filled.


PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS AN ARTICLE ON SHOWERING, THIS IS NOT AN ACTUAL SHOWER.
  * Marked fields are required.
Qty*
Price $0.00